This past Friday, the harp students had a studio class where we all play a piece for each other, give each other constructive criticism, and there’s also a teacher there who critiques as well. I played my piece, and my classmates told me what was good, and what needed work, and that was fine. I appreciated that. Somehow, the criticism from my peers was much easier for me to handle than what came next. I wouldn’t say that the harp teacher who was there (not my harp teacher) tore me apart, and she definitely wasn’t “out to get me.” I know that all of her comments were well-meaning, and she wants me to be the best musician I can be as much as anyone else. And yet, that didn’t stop me from feeling like crap once the class was over.
The class made me feel as though I have no idea what I’m doing, artistically. Maybe this is because my teacher and the teacher at the class tend to have opposite opinions, but it still felt bad, and I honestly don’t want to practice that piece now because it makes me feel like an idiot. I also felt like all the other students had all their pieces in performance condition, when I totally do not. I felt really behind.
Over the weekend I’ve thought about it a lot, and I was reminded of my pre-kindergarten self: I was determined that I had to know how to read before I went to school. I didn’t want to be behind. So, I taught myself to read. I also wanted to know how to play piano before my first piano lesson, but my mom put her foot down on that one. But I think the effects of this Friday’s studio class are an echo of what has apparently always been ingrained in me; I want to be perfect before I even get there, to not need criticism.
Well, newsflash, this is a university. A school. A place to LEARN. If we were all perfect already we wouldn’t be here, right? You’re not expected to know everything beforehand, that’s what your teachers are HERE for. If I could finally just internalize this lesson I think I’d enjoy studio class so much more.